Waxwing breed in a band from Scandinavia through Russia, Alaska and Canada favouring open pine forest. They winter south of this range and when berries are scarce in their normal wintering areas they irrupt further afield with large numbers occasionally occurring outside of their usual range. The size and timing of irruptions is influenced by the post-breeding population size and by the abundance of favoured food sources such as Rowan and Whitebeam. The winter of 2016/17 has been a particularly good winter for the species in the UK with many thousands being reported.
Adult male Waxwing, note the white edges to the primary tips and the well developed
red waxy appendages to the secondaries
First winter Waxwing lacking the white tips to the primaries and having a straight
yellow line on the outer web of the primaries